Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-17-2019

Gaza Workers
Israeli officials are discussing the possibility of allowing 5,000 workers from Gaza to work in Israeli border communities. One security official in favor of the plan said, “It’s cheaper than paying Thai workers. They won’t have to sleep inside Israel, and most importantly, they’ll have something to lose, they won’t go off and burn the field in which they work.”

He added, “In Gaza, people will choose working in Israel over digging terror tunnels. Each of the 5,000 will be thoroughly checked on his way in and out of the Strip and will earn about NIS 3,500 in comparison to about NIS 1,000 he can make inside Gaza — if he’s lucky and has a job there. We’re talking about more than NIS 25 million each month, that will allow workers to purchase products in Gaza and improve the economic situation there, which will in turn bring calm.”

The Shin Bet is rejecting the idea, since unlike in the West Bank, Israel has no presence inside the Strip, and thus can’t make immediate arrests of terror suspects if it needs to. It presented state officials with recent cases in which Hamas took advantage of sick Gazans who entered Israel for treatment and sent them into the West Bank to deliver information, funds or weaponry for terror purposes. The Shin Bet fears that Hamas could send workers on similar missions inside border fence communities so they can to gather information on IDF patrols, school schedules and similar sensitive information.

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Election Update
The Labor party and Meretz have agreed to run in a joint list in the upcoming elections. They have also apparently asked Ehud Barak to throw his new party into the group too. The latest polls show that if the three parties ran together, they would win 15 seats, compared to the six and four currently held by Labor and Meretz respectively. But the alliance would not strengthen the left-wing camp as a whole and would weaken the center-left Blue and White party, giving the Likud an advantage.

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Controversial Purchase
The Ateret Cohanim Organization, which purchases properties in the various quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem for Jews to live in, has just recently purchased two hotels near Jaffa Gate (Christian Quarter) from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. The Patriarchate apparently didn’t know exactly to whom it was selling the properties. Now it wants the courts to overturn the sale. But the courts have upheld the deal. Ateret Cohanim is expected to vacate the current tenants of the building and replace them with Jewish resident.

In a Yedioth Ahronoth’s report, it was revealed that the former manager of the Petra Hotel, Ted Bloomfield, had received funds for years from the Ateret Cohanim organization in order to push for the deal to take place, and has records that prove it. In light of this new evidence, the Greek Patriarchy is expected to file a request to cancel the court ruling approving the sale.

If the sale is upheld and the buildings are vacated, it could cause a major crisis between Israel and the Greek Orthodox Church, which could also include Russia.

The controversy could also have an impact on other lands under dispute in the capital; the Patriarchy is the original owner of massive lands within Jerusalem’s Rehavia and Talbiye neighborhoods, leased to the Israel National Fund for a period of 99 years, set to end soon. Hundreds of Israelis could lose their homes in case the church reclaims its lands in these central West Jerusalem neighborhoods.

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Peretz Apology
In an official letter to the Jewish Agency Chairman, which was addressed to the leadership of the Jewish communities around the world and especially the Jewish Federations in North America, Rabbi Peretz wrote: “Out of deep worry for the fate of the Jewish People, I used the word ‘Holocaust’, an expression that expresses the depth of pain and may not have been in place. Of course I did not mean to hurt any Diaspora Jews.

He wrote, “In my remarks, I described how anxious I am for the future of the Jewish People, especially in light of the increasing phenomenon of assimilation among Diaspora Jews, something that keeps me up at night. As someone who has been a lifelong advocate of love of Jews, it is important for me to make it clear that I respect and cherish the entire Jewish People in Israel and the Diaspora. In this context, I would be happy to cooperate with you to deepen education to Jewish identity.”

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Ancient Find
A huge ancient settlement, one of the largest of its kind in the region, has been discovered during archaeological excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Motza Junction (near Jerusalem). According to Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Dr. Jacob Vardi, excavation directors at Motza on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, “this is the first time that such a large-scale settlement is discovered in Israel. At least 2,000 – 3,000 residents lived here – an order of magnitude that parallels a present-day city!” The settlement is thought to be from the Neolithic period, which lasted until 3,500 BCE.

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Hot Hot
A severe heat wave is hitting Israel today, with temperatures hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit almost everywhere. Meteorologists say that the heat wave will be brief, and temps will begin to cool down by evening. Conditions will be extremely dry and there will be winds, so the Fire and Rescue Services are warning people not to light fires in open areas and forests.

Try to stay cool!

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